Jumat, 08 Mei 2009

Aladdin USA (1)

So what's an Aladdin lamp?
Victor Samuel Johnson was born in Nebraska and grew up on a farm there. As a young schoolboy, he had to study by the flickering light of a flat wick kerosene lamp. In spite of this, he learned his lessons well and became a bookkeeper and salesman for the Iowa Soap Company in Burlington, Iowa.
In 1905 he saw a German lamp that made superior light with the use of a cone shaped "mantle" which was suspended above the lamps flame. The flame heated the mantle, causing it to glow and produce a bright white light. The German lamp also made use of a round wick and a center draft tube which allowed a very even burning flame that did not flicker.
It did not take Victor long to realize the sales potential of such a lamp. In 1908 he incorporated "The Mantle Lamp Company of America" and in early 1909 the first "Aladdin" lamp was introduced to America.
The name Aladdin was actually derived from the story of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp-- in which old lamps were offered for new. One of the sales programs of the company allowed a trade allowance for old lamps and many Aladdin lamps were given away as part of their introduction to the public.
As The Mantle Lamp Company of America grew from the sales of the Aladdin lamps, it also diversified into many other products. In 1919 it formed a subdivision called "Aladdin Industries Inc." to market it's diverse product line. In 1949 The Mantle Lamp Company of America merged with its subsidiary, "Aladdin Industries Inc.," and became known by that name. This industry is still producing a variety of products, but is probably best known for the Aladdin thermos products it manufactures. It still produces and sells Aladdin kerosene lamps.
It is hard for us to think back to a time without television, vcr's, computers and electrical appliances. Most of us however, have experienced a power outage at one time or another and have been made keenly aware of our pampered life styles. In the dark of a power outage what would the light of a sixty watt light bulb mean to you? Under those conditions you experienced just a small hint of what the Aladdin mantle lamp meant to those who bought them. The Aladdin lamp with its "rare earth oxide mantle" not only brought a light into the darkness, it changed the lives of millions of people.
When I look upon the lamps in my collection I see more than just pretty pieces of glass-- I see the people that used them and feel a little remorse in their passing. The lamps are the epitaph to a way of life I never knew. I can't look upon them without wondering where they have been. What good or bad times have they brought from the darkness? They are history, and for a short time I am their keeper--then I too shall become one of their secrets.

We stand before the winds of time to bring a small light into the darkness, then we are gone.

A new century had come to America, but it had yet to bring it from the age of darkness. People still lived by the flickering light of flat wick oil or kerosene lamps. The dawn of the century was about to change the lives of many people and one company would be at the heart of bringing light into those lives. "The Mantle Lamp Company of America" (later to become "Aladdin Industries Inc.") was about to bring America forth from its darkness with a unique product--the Aladdin mantle lamp.
Aladdin lamps were unique in the use of a round wick to provide an even non flickering flame, and a rare earth mantle that glowed to produce the light of a 60 watt light bulb when heated by the flame from the kerosene lamp. The difference between the light of the Aladdin lamps and any other oil or kerosene lamp was so great that the company offered a one thousand dollar reward to any person who could show them an oil lamp that could equal its light. The reward was never collected, and by the early 1930's seven million Aladdins had been sold!
Aladdin was also one of the pioneers in modern sales techniques and would allow customers to trade in their old oil lamps on new Aladdin lamps. They were also one of the first companies to use radio as an advertising medium in the Midwest. They paid Henry Field, who owned the Henry Field Seed Company of Shenandoah, Iowa along with a 1000 watt station KFNF, five hundred dollars to talk about their lamp on his "Evening Letterbasket" program. Included in the program was a cash offer of twenty five dollars for the best ten word slogan submitted. The response was 2200 letters and 800 of those didn't even submit a slogan--they just wanted more information on the lamp! Later radio stations to carry adds included WLS Chicago, WHO Des Moines, and WSM Nashville. As radio grew so did Aladdin's coverage until it covered the nation.

Aladdin lamps were manufactured in a wide variety of styles. The first were made of metal, either brass or nickel plated brass. There were several models of the metal lamps including table lamps, bracket lamps, and some very unusual hanging lamps. The 1930's and 40's saw lamps made of colored glass, and included the now much sought after ruby crystal and cobalt blue, tall Lincoln drape Aladdin lamps. Another lamp that became the best selling lamp in Aladdin's history was the Alacite tall Lincoln drape. Alacite was a unique trademark of Aladdin and resembled ivory in its color and texture. Moonstone glass was also unique to Aladdin lamps and was so named because the glass itself seemed to glow like the pale moon. The glowing quality of moonstone is as popular with collectors today as it was with customers in the 1930's.
Aladdin lamps have become very collectable today, and for anyone interested in them, the following links will give you an insight into their development, along with pictures to help you identify the many different styles. I have devoted this site to the kerosene (oil) lamps, although Aladdin also manufactured many unusual electric lamps after the advent of electricity. For anyone wishing more information you will find a link within this site to the Aladdin Knights web site which is devoted in its entirety to collectors of all types of Aladdin Lamps. I hope you enjoy this site, and that it may be of some benefit to you as an owner, or collector of Aladdin lamps.

adopted form aladdincollector.com 1

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